I basically took a gap year off mangas for my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge 2012, because it didn't count mangas. Now I've read this series before but the last one was about 2 years ago and it was volume 11-12-13-14-ish where it had fallen into a slump, either way, I can't remember so I restarted the whole series. I can't remember the original reason I picked up this series, I just knew my library had plenty of volumes of it and the cover art was coolio (shame on me, judging books by covers, but like art matters in mangas) also I had finished reading Chobits recently, so checking out more CLAMP seemed good. I remember the first time I read this volume I was literally hooked from page 1, this pretty much happened to me the 2nd time around but not quite as strong because it was a re-read. It was legitimately the best start to a manga I had ever read, now that position goes to Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom, but regardless the first volume is exceptional! The rest of the series(that I have read so far) is great (except the aforementioned slump), although I like the start better, and is the best work by CLAMP that I have read. This time I do intend to finish the whole series and we'll see what my recommendation is then. Reasons why this volume was so fantastic are mainly the art, and the strong hooking storyline.
Title: Tsubasa Resrvoir Chronicle, Vol 1
Date of Completion: 6/1/2012
Rating: 5 stars
The story starts here so a lot of important events to the overarching storyline take place here, in the slump mentioned above the important events get few and far between so its less likeable). I know each world has its own plotline, which I think can carry away from the overarching story as on the whole these stories are not important unless a significant fact to the real story is in there, they only display the groups skills and knowledge, and the lengths Syoaran would go to to save Sakura. But since this is located in the start not the travelling between worlds, its more concentrated and that I really like. The actual story itself is pretty impacting, its fascinating to see how much Syaoran will do to get Sakura back. And don't you go thinking Sakura's some personality-less damsel letting Syoaran do all the work, she isn't given much of a choice she's unconscious for the most part of the volume. You're also left wondering what's the reason behind Sakura's reaction and Fai's needing to leave (I liked Chi's cameo). I didn't notice the first time around but Syoaran and Sakura's love dialogue can get a bit cheesy at points, but that might be due to translation. What you see of the characterisation so early on is great, and you can't help but to be impressed by Syaoran's determination.
The art only strengthens these traits and really exoresses it, I really like the art style used by CLAMP in Tsubasa and Chobits (better than the art style in their other works) the facial features are simple but very effective in looking good and expressing emotions, while the clothing and hair can be as detailed and delicate as they like. A great example is in the prologue, that's where my hooked feelings began and they only grew throughout this volume. You can really see the pain, longing and desperation on their faces, the simplicity of the fingers trying to touch, then you see the glass wall, then the tube, and when she falls, you have got to know whats going on. Even if the only word said in the prologue is a name, it still makes an impact, even more so in my case. Although the anime gets that sequence pretty much accurate but in colour, the movement and colour takes away from the simple but powerful prologue in the manga.